April 2, 2013 2:16:50 PM
A rose to Kelvin Lee and his friends. It is often said that you find out who your friends are in times of adversity. In that sense, Thursday's benefit fish fry at the Columbus Police Department says much about Lee and much about those who have rallied to his support. Lee, a veteran officer in the CPD, is battling cancer. On Thursday, almost a thousand people bought $8 plates of catfish, hush puppies and fries, raising almost $6,000. Organized by fellow officers, the fish were donated by Columbus Christian Center. Former CPD officer Wayne Beard served as cook. While the money raised by the event will be of great value, it is the outpouring of love and support from all those who participated that will sustain the spirits long after the money has been spent.
A rose to all the ministers, musicians, actors and stage-hands for their efforts in putting together this year's Easter plays and programs. Easter, when rightly considered, is the most joyous of holidays for Christians. The special events that require much planning, preparation and hard work help all who attend gain a deeper appreciation for what endures in Christianity as the most important event in history.
A rose to the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Cadence Bank and all of the participating restaurants who made Starkville Restaurant Week a success far beyond anyone's expectations. Last week, participating restaurants handed out ballots to patrons, who could vote on which of three area charities would be awarded a $5,000 donation, courtesy Cadence Bank. The Oktibbeha County Humane Society won that "election." In truth, everyone who participated was a winner. More than 10,000 ballots were submitted, which was far more than expected. As a point of reference, a similar event in Jackson resulted in 5,000 ballots being cast. Restaurant Week was a winner for the restaurants, which saw a boost in sales at a time when business is typically slow. It was a boost to the city, through the increased sales tax revenue it will collect. It was a winner for charity. Well done!
A rose to all those who have worked together to make Columbus and Lowndes County an attractive place for economic development. A decade ago, Columbus ranked 374th out of 576 micropolitans (urbanized areas with a population of more than 10,000 people but fewer than 50,000), but Policom rankings released last week show a 22-spot leap over last year, carrying the city from a rank of 46 to 24.
Policom, a Palm City, Fla.-based economic research firm, ranks cities based upon 20-year trends in growth rates, consistency, industry averages and other factors. "We're inching closer and closer to that top 10," said Macaulay Whitaker, vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce division of the Golden Triangle Development Link. "Our goal at the end of the day is to grow the Golden Triangle."